I spent a good portion of the past three weeks shooting WHO IS LYDIA LOVELESS?, which will be either my 13th or 14th completed feature film (depending on whether this or PIZZA, A LOVE STORY is completed first), and while I could share stories about the candid and amazing interviews with Lydia and her bandmates, or what a thrill it was to watch them record their new record, how freakin’ funny they all are, or even just how damn nice everyone is, I will instead share this.
The tale of the broken neck.
My crew arrived in Lydia’s hometown on Columbus on Sunday, June 14th, just in time to see Lydia and company perform at a free show. But because of the ridiculous lack of cover on the stage, and the fact that is rained virtually every day I was in Ohio (and apparently always does in June), the show was a disaster waiting to happen. Gear got wet, sound issues abounded because electronics don’t like getting wet, basically it was a cluster fuck on the part of the promoter.
When everything was finally working, and there was a break in the rain, an extremely frustrated Lydia and company managed to pull off their song “Wine Lips” (sweetly dedicated to a young fan), and a small part of another song before the clouds let loose with a torrential downpour. Ben moved fastest, getting his upright bass under a tarp. But as one of the dozens seemingly “in charge” of the event ran onto the stage and cancelled the concert, Lydia, completely frustrated by the events, threw her beloved Telecaster to the ground in anger.
For me, a lover of chaos in rock and roll it was a beautiful way to begin the trip. My 5th Lydia show, only a song and a half long. And as me and my crew walked back to the rental Jeep in the pouring rain, I couldn’t wait for the interviews to begin.
And this story might have ended there…
Until the next morning when I get to Lydia’s and Ben’s home, and checking out her office where the first of many interviews would be filmed, I picked up the Tele, making some stupid comment to Lydia about how indestructible they are. And then it became obvious. I noticed. She noticed. Fuck! The neck of her favorite guitar was cracked. Not a small repairable crack. But cracked through and through on the headstock.
Now in my life I have certainly put my foot in my mouth many times. But I don’t think I’ve ever felt worse about calling attention to anything. Here we are about to begin the interviews, while I can see how truly upset she is about her guitar. I felt terrible, even though I played no part in breaking it.
In the end of course, the guitar was quickly fitted with a gorgeous new neck. The interviews were everything I wanted them to be and more. I learned for the 1,843rd time this year to think before I speak. And Lydia posted this on her Facebook page with a picture of the new neck: “New neck for my main squeeze. My guitar tossing days are over #trymeditationforanger #onepunchloveless #whoamikidding”
I even got to take home a little souvenir.
I don’t really collect much memorabilia anymore. I have a few items from my favorites bands (y’know, The Mats, Archers, Wilco), but none of them have the meaning of this broken neck.
It sits now at the entrance to my office, the first thing I see every time I enter.
And it truly does represent the most rock and roll way imaginable to begin this film.